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4. Africa: Changemakers competition invites farmers to submit innovations and offers a chance to win cash prizes (Ashoka and Farm Radio Weekly)

Do you know someone who is making a big difference on small farms? Do you have a vision for making agricultural change in your region? If so, Ashoka, a global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, is offering farmers the opportunity to get their voices heard and a supportive community that will listen to them.From now until May 13th 2009, Ashoka’s Changemakers, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, presents the Cultivating Innovation: Solutions for Rural Communities competition. The competition is open to anyone striving to stimulate rural development and agriculture. For example, Ashoka is inspired by people like C.K. “Bablu” Ganguly, an Ashoka Fellow whose innovations have regenerated farmland and created jobs in southern India through organic farming and marketing cooperatives.

“This competition is the opportunity to find the solutions that are being created in the far corners of Africa and to work with creative and entrepreneurial individuals that we have yet to discover,” says Charlie Brown, Executive Director of Changemakers. These innovations, unique and creative ideas and projects, have many faces and can come from anywhere.

Farmers with innovations that they have been using on their farm can enter the competition by creating a profile and filling out an entry form online. Staff at Changemakers are available to help. After submitting an entry form, farmers are encouraged to promote their idea to friends and family, to peers, and to the media. After May 13th, judges will review the entries and decide on 12 to 15 finalists. Then, the public will choose the three winners by voting on the Changemakers website. The three winners will receive 5000 US dollars. Farmers who submit their idea by March 30th are eligible for a chance to win an early entry prize of a digital camera and a mobile phone.
Click here to see the notes to broadcasters on the Changemakers competition [1]